Celebrate Earth Day by purging your home, office, and classroom of broken electronics, and make money off of that ewaste. eBay is offering up to $150 for broken iPads and less for phones and MP3 players. Tack on to that free shipping, “responsible recycling,”* and even a $5 gift card and matching donation to Global Green USA for each transaction and you could be minting money this Earth Month. With over 3.3 million trade-in offers made over the last 6 months, eBay’s Instant Sale program is the epitome of a successful environmental initiative that is garnering more sales, awareness, and support of a company.
The eBay Instant Sale was hatched in 2010 by the sustainability and social innovation team, and has become one of the most recognized environmental programs that eBay runs. With the “next new thing” taking on a rapid pace in the technology sector, eBay is capitalizing on how quickly gadgets become obsolete. This additional cash perk and donation for Earth Month may be enough to perk up techies into trading up.
The program is not without its question marks. Responsible recycling of ewaste is incredibly difficult to track into today’s global marketplace. Ewaste dumps in Africa, and toxic ewaste separation camps in China highlight the need for more sustainable design in electronics. Most electronics recyclers are avoiding claims of safe, responsible, and ethical recycling as the EPA and other organizations continue to uncover and slap fines on companies disobeying hazardous waste exportation laws. Some consumer researchers also believe that by providing immediate solutions on the surface for disposing of resource-intensive products like electronics, we are further perpetuating our disengagement from the earth’s limits. Issues with solutions are rarely asked if they need to be issues in the first place, so in this case they question whether the electronics and upgrades were necessary at all, rather than ok because there is a disposal solution.
Regardless, the ewaste debate and increasing need for ethical and appropriate disposal and disassembly solutions are in great need. Instead of holding on to broken electronics, consumers stand to gain some cash and Earth Day points by recycling their electronics.